Tales of the Unexpected: The Unique and Unusual Ways Clinicians Use Pando

As our communication tool continues to evolve, so are the ways in which you can use it.

By Robin Hill

In the beginning, before Pando was Pando, we were known as Forward. The idea behind the name Forward was simple yet effective – ‘for the ward’. A healthcare communication app to be used exclusively for clinicians in wards. However, as clinicians demands for communication evolved, so did our organisation.

The name Pando was adopted to reflect the incredible breadth and network of health and social care services. If you didn’t know, Pando is a tree. On the surface, Pando can be seen as multiple trees, but underground is a huge labyrinth of roots interconnected in a single, simple system. It’s organic, growing and powerful. These roots represent the links that hold our beloved healthcare system together. We are creating the infrastructure to allow information to travel easily and safely. As Pando continues to grow, so does the strength of our connections and resolve to care.

This, in turn, means that Pando does occasionally get used in unexpected ways. To be an adaptive and versatile tool makes for an incredibly rewarding experience and what makes Pando – Pando.

Connecting staff within the community

Whether it is a case of speed or simplicity, Pando has improved the way in which a healthcare community can communicate in a remote-first world:

“When you are out and about on the road, our laptops don’t always work in remote areas, but with Pando you can always get up to date crucial information when you need it, before you go in to see a patient, during and after.”

Donna Webb, District Nurse, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

“Before, you would have to wait up to 12 hours to get a GPs opinion. Now it’s so much easier to get in touch with who you need, before even leaving the patient’s side. We use it both for the vital need to have a query heard, as well as to just have some company when the job is getting lonely.”

Shell Young, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

“Getting direct contact with consultants when you need answers ASAP really helps to facilitate getting very unwell patients into hospital. Sending a message straight to the consultant allows them to immediately say if a patient needs a bed. The consultants actually know them which makes life a lot easier than having to go through the on-call doctor.”

Joanne George, Heart Failure Nurse, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Army doctors using Pando

Pando has come a long way – literally. Emergency evacuating a seriously unwell patient abroad to an intensive care unit at a hospital in the UK, is something we never thought would be a capability. The team consists of the Army doctors overseas and the clinicians at the receiving hospital in the UK.

“Overall Pando was hugely beneficial. It allowed close to real time updates of results and advice, many were photographs of lab reports and therefore avoided transcription errors and ensured the quality of the data.

MoD Pando user

Army doctors have also been able to request and provide medical advice via Pando. In one case, an Orthopaedic Surgeon was able to advise on mobilising a broken radius (arm bone) using Pando. This prevented the soldier from being casevaced home, allowing them to continue their duty on an exercise abroad. Patient Cards enabled the clinicians to provide real time updates on the patient’s care.

Smart patient cards

Quite simply, Pando’s Patient Cards were meant to replace the paper lists many hospital healthcare professionals use to track their workflow and patients. Having a digital record allowed the team to access crucial patient information together, with updates shown in real time. However, we didn’t anticipate Trusts would use this function in completely different ways to track patient conditions and even log tasks.

“We use the patient cards feature for anyone with safeguarding concerns. We put that on the patient card list, and note why they are on there, what the concerns are etc.”

Paula Carsen, Community Midwife, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

1. Tracking patient conditions

By tracking patient conditions using the images on Patient Cards, clinicians could improve procedures and enhance their learning.

“With plastics there are often complex reconstructive procedures that are done in stages. We’d attach photos of the wound for example at each stage onto the patient card so we could track how they were doing at each stage and compare. This was also really useful for our learning.”

Dan Lazenby, SHO, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

2. Digital ward task list

Using patient cards as a ward list gave a digital overview of tasks for the entire team. These Trusts have utilised Patient Cards in an ingenious method to coordinate care within their team and ensure everyone knows their requirements.

“We were previously just using a diary. Now, everythings been transferred over to Pando. We put things on Pando that we need updating, and what needs to be done for certain babies, using the list function we can just tick them off as and when they get done. We created a patient ID card for the babies and put them on a ward list all within the app, so we have constant access to see what needs to be done, and what’s already been done all on our phones.”

“I think Pando has benefitted the care because communication is a lot better, so things don’t get missed. It’s useful for handovers during change of staff and making sure you let them know what needs to be done for certain babies. Babies can go home quicker as someone else can pick up what needs to be done and request it as an outpatient, rather than keeping them in longer until all the relevant tests are done.”

Neonatal team, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Key camera capabilities

Pando’s camera sharing capabilities have been used as a ward’s digital camera for pressure ulcers. These images are then shared into a group chat where specialist nurses can easily offer input and advice as needed.

“We use Pando to receive and send photos of patients e.g. pressure sores and wounds so that we can provide feedback and advice from our phones rather than having to visit the ward physically to see the patient.”

“Previously, we would ask clinicians to send photos of wounds via email
. However, this is very time consuming as you would need to access a ward camera to take the photo, then find and log on to a Trust computer, transfer the image from the camera onto the computer and then log in to your email and send the photo. Most nurses do not have time to do this and so we would often receive the referral without any photos.”

“We have created different teams for each ward and cluster. These include their senior staff and all of the CCNs so that they can easily contact our team and send us photos of a patient, given the patient has given consent for the photo to be taken. They take and send us photos of every wound including leg ulcers, surgical wounds but the majority are pressure sores and ulcers.”

“We can then give feedback and advice within the team chat. It’s been really positive as it’s made communicating amongst teams so much easier, rather than contacting one specific person.”

Tissue Viability Team at Homerton

Acquiring equipment fast.

Not a mere messaging app – no. Pando has speeded up the process of getting patients and healthcare professionals the equipment they need. A system that could have easily taken teams a lot of time to attain, has now been streamlined.

“We don’t normally do equipment ordering as physios, but I saw that this patient needed a new bed, so I took a picture of the bed on Pando and sent it to the OTs. They agreed and approved an order, so I could order things there and so quickly! Normally we’d have to send emails, wait for others to check them etc. Now it’s so much quicker with everything just there on the app. Another example was when one of our physios saw a patient in need of a walker, so she asked the team as to where she might be able to get it. Simply by tapping into the team’s knowledge we were able to get one really quickly and easily.”

Leyla Izzet, community physio team lead, St Margaret’s Hospital

Clinicians make us what we are

It’s safe to say that Pando is nothing without the clinicians that use it. The idea of this app wasn’t born in a day. It has been carefully cultivated over time from the feedback of all the healthcare professionals that use it. Initially, our aim was to make communication simpler, more secure and improve the experience to make clinicians day-to-day easier. However, that aim, whilst still an integral part of our journey, has broadened. Clinical communication doesn’t end in wards, but applies to all health and social care wherever that may be. We began to realise that our users were everywhere, not just hospital wards. They’re in the community, they’re visiting people’s homes, they’re first on the scene of an accident and they’re in the back of ambulances. They’re the ever-evolving network that takes care of us whenever we need them most.

Every new use case we receive inspires us to adapt the way Pando works for every healthcare professional, in every kind of scenario. Pando is here to remove the barriers and complexities of communication so clinicians can focus on their jobs – providing excellent care.

Learn more about how you can use Pando.

Available now on NHS Apps Library.